1951-1960

Ralph Thomas – Above Us The Waves (1955)

TCM writes:
Tense and claustrophobic World War II film deals with the efforts of the British armed forces to defeat the intimidating German battleship Tirpitz. After the RAF fails to sink the vessel, a Navy commander (John Mills) must convince his superiors to let him carry out a bold and experimental mission utilizing midget submarines to take the ship out of commission while it’s anchored in a Norwegian fjord. John Gregson and Donald Sinden co-star in the action-packed tale based on true events. Read More »

Mark Donskoy – Dorogoy tsenoy AKA The Horse That Cried (1957)

Also known as At Great Cost, this adaptation of a story by Mikhailo Kotsyubinsky—a Ukrainian writer executed in the Stalinist purges but rehabilitated in 1955—anticipates the wave of Sixties poetic cinema in its focus on star-crossed lovers and its celebration of nature. Set in the 1930s, the film begins as Solomia is forced into an arranged marriage. She escapes with her lover, Ostep, and for a while it looks as if the fugitives will make a clean getaway. Yet eventually they come to the attention of the police, who mistake them for being part of a gang of thieves. One of the major figures of the earlier current of socialist realism, Donskoy, in one of his first post-Stalin era productions, here loosens his style to reveal a delicate romanticism rarely felt in his earlier films. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Rabies (1958)

“This made-for-television film was based on Olle Hedberg’s script, which Ingmar Bergman had directed for the City Theatre of Hälsingborg as early as in 1945, and as a radio play the following year. Bergman, who called the play ‘an unpleasant piece’, used stage actors from Malmö. The scarce reviews of the film focused on Bergman’s faiblesse for the puppet theatre and the morality play, with the result that the characters functioned as types.” Read More »

Ishirô Honda – Gasu ningen dai ichigo AKA The Human Vapor (1960)

Synopsis:
A librarian is subject to a scientific experiment which goes wrong and transforms him into ‘The Human Vapour’. He uses his new ability to rob banks to fund the career of his girlfriend, a beautiful dancer. The Human Vapour is ruthless in his quest for money and kills anyone who stands in his way, especially police. He soon becomes Tokyo’s most wanted criminal. Can he be stopped before he kills again? Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – The Fearmakers (1958)

In this drama, a Korean war veteran, a victim of brainwashing while he was a POW, finally goes back to his home in Washington, DC, where he resumes his job at a public relations-opinion research firm. He soon discovers that his company is being run by communists after his partner mysteriously died. Now pro-communist propaganda seems to be their primary business. To stop them, the vet begins cooperating in a full-scale Senate investigation. Read More »

Douglas Sirk – Battle Hymn (1957) (HD)

Battle Hymn was inspired by the true story of American minister Dean Hess, played here with rare sensitivity by Rock Hudson. A bomber pilot during World War II, Hess inadvertently releases a bomb which destroys a German orphanage. Tortured by guilt, Hess relocates in Korea after the war to offer his services as a missionary. Combining the best elements of Christianity and Eastern spiritualism, Hess establishes a large home for orphans. The preacher’s efforts are threatened when the Korean “police action” breaks out in 1950. Battle Hymn was one of several collaborations between Rock Hudson and director Douglas Sirk–though Sirk felt that Robert Stack would have been better suited to the role of Rev. Hess. Read More »

Dino Risi – Pane, amore e… aka Scandal in Sorrento (1955)

In this Italian romantic comedy set in the town of Sorrento, on the beautiful Bay of Naples, a woman rents a home from a dashing womanizer. Unfortunately, after 30 years away, the man returns to become the town police chief and wants to reclaim his home. The woman refuses to leave. The man then attempts to use his many charms. The ploy works and the woman agrees to dump her fiancé and marry him instead. When the womanizer realizes what she is about to do, he jilts her instead and decides to woo his own landlady instead. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Read More »